tetraMIN 108

Alright! After 108 hours of work, not including prototyping, we finally finished our hanging screen generated by Grasshopper in Rhino. It was displayed during RIMMEA 2011. Full pictures of the installation can be found on our flickr page.

Press Release:

tetraMIN is a hanging screen aggregate consisting of componentry generatedfrom tetrahedren geometry via Rhino’s Grasshopper parametric modeling plug-in. Comprised of laser cut polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) scraps, each componentforms a periodic minimal surface, and is propagated into a regular pattern by aseries of reflecting/mirroring operations. The PTFE is the former roof material fromthe RCA Dome, a large pneumatic roof stadium prior to demolition in 2008, and wasdonated to the studio by Michael Bricker, director of People for Urban Progress,located in Indianapolis, Indiana.

System prototyping and fabrication occurred in one week by a nine member teamof Ball State University architecture students. Working with the Institute for DigitalFabrication’s faculty and equipment (primarily laser cutters), the team fabricatedeach component with a tab-and-slot connector system to enable the assembly of thescreen. Inexpensive zip ties are also strategically deployed throughout the screenassembly for structural stiffening
Backlit for a glowing visual effect, tetraMIN is currently on display in the Collegeof Architecture and Planning’s gallery to coincide with a special event aligned withmanufacturing and materials research.

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Installation Exploration Part 2

We have continued to focus on how to connect the units and components of the design. Trying to reduce the number of zip-ties needed, we have worked with interlocking tabs which connect each unit. The challenge we are looking into now is how to incorporate the seams and zip-tie location into the design.


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Joshua Prince-Ramus on Seattle’s library


This link contains a great TED Talk given by Joshua Prince-Ramus on his way of displaying program evolution in a simple, animated form.

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Installation Exploration

We are currently exploring using the RCA dome fabric and zip-ties to create an installation in the Gallery of the Ball State Architecture Building.

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Derek, Derek, Kristen

1) Experimentation

Architecture is a unique  discipline. It is artists, engineers, fabricators, and designers working together with technology and an experimental outlook. The architecture and design population of students and professionals are investigating, manipulating, and achieving new forms, structures, and designs with traditional and non-traditional materials. What is starting to evolve is a new architectural vernacular.

2) Responsibility

It is our responsibility, as creators of new landmarks throughout the world, to use these new methods and provide people as they enter a new architectural work to see it as a new beginning. Whether that beginning is a particular emotion, sense of environmental awareness, or creating a sense of involvement in a larger community, there must be something that touches them.

3) Technology

The principles that the architectural marvels of our predecessors were built on must not be forgotten but left in the past in order to strive for something that is revolutionary and indicative of our present values. This new design exploration will shape the architecture of today, producing an architectural dialect that is technology, fabrication, and interactive media inspired.

4) Materiality

We are in a time where technology is consistently evolving and because of that, new machines are feverishly updated. As machines become more advanced, and people become more knowledgeable of their capabilities, the norm of architecture will involve the continued exploration of traditional and non-traditional materials.  

5) Experience

The difference between a building and Architecture is whether there is an emotional experience. Depending on whether or not a particular design gives you an emotion, can be either a building or Architecture. We are seeing how these new technologies are influencing the design and the construction processes, but how are they changing the ways we experience our buildings? We must acknowledge that the architectural experience of today caries the same importance as the lives within it.

6) Collaboration

Stop, collaborate, and listen… New or modern architecture can’t just be about pushing the boundaries for new designs; it is a composite of sound forms of collaboration. It must be a symphony of experimentation, responsibility, technology, materiality, and experience to collectively form the architecture of today.

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Aaron, Andre, Kate

architecture is…

… Space.  Function.  Interaction.  Technology. Structure.  History.  Buildings.  Innovation.   Collaboration. Responsibility.  Bullshit.  People. Walls.  Art.  Science.  Beauty.  Subjective.  Objective. Fun.  Engaging.  Design.  A Process.   Alive.   Dead.  Fabrication.  Evolution. Form.  A Way of Thinking.  Problem Solving…

Architecture means many things to many people, which is a direct reflection of the complexity, interest, and significance of the discipline.

The definition of architecture is a difficult one; it’s an art and a science that involves, at its most basic level, the designing and construction of buildings.  However, architecture spans more than just the built environment. To say one is an architect, limits in some regard, the extent of what the person being called an architect is capable of doing. The word has lost fervor over the past couple of years, as the unlearnt person now thinks of an architect as only someone who designs buildings.

So, what is architecture?

architecture is EVOLUTION.

While the tools and styles of architecture have changed throughout time, concepts have not. The architecture of today exists as a response or reaction to everything that came before it. From early grass huts to modern skyscrapers, the architecture of ancient times is distinctively different from the architecture of today, yet ultimately rooted in the same basic principles.  Architecture, like fashion, has trends that come and go such as the use of ornament or the expression of form.  These trends, although not always well received or understood, represent a piece of history that informs were buildings will go next.  Architecture is an ever-evolving process that has a significant impact on how people use the spaces in which they live their everyday lives.

architecture is PEOPLE.

Architecture creates spaces for human habitation, generally designed to meet the needs of a specific user.  It concentrates on the needs of people. Whether it is simple shelter from a passing storm or a stadium for thousands of spectators, good design knows what it is going to be used for and does it well.

architecture is TECHNOLOGY.

Overtime, the styles of architecture will change, as well as the tools and technology used to achieve those styles.  Technology has become increasingly important in the architecture profession, particularly today. Notable architecture uses the newest technology to accomplish its objectives. Architects should not shy away from incorporating new techniques in their buildings or their drawing conventions. Whether architects are harnessing reinforced concrete or the computer algorithm, we should always be learning and pushing the limits of what we know to work.

architecture is COLLABORATION.

The main issue that architecture faces today is perhaps the disconnect that exists between it and the craftsmen that contribute to the realization of a building. The architect and engineer work together and then the project is handed over to the contractor for interpretation. What happens with this model is a lot of errors, which affects cost among other things. The use of new softwares, model simulations and CNC machines is one of the ways architects are now bridging the gap that has existed between envisioned designs and actual built structure; between designer and contractor/builder.

Digital fabrication and BIM technologies are the mediator, so it is crucial for anyone interested in architecture to understand the roles they play. They bring together all the key players involved in building design, architects, engineers, builders, fabricators etc. at the early stage of design. This is essential as there are little or no disconnects in the dialogue. The final built structure can be very close to the envisioned design, with little or no changes after construction documents have been done.

architecture is BEAUTIFUL.

Good architecture is beautiful. While the word can mean many things to different people, beauty in architecture can be viewed as something done well. Beauty in architecture goes beyond a pleasing appearance, but is achieved when needs are met, values are reflected and technology is celebrated.

architecture is OBJECTIVE.

Architecture, like the visual arts, and like beauty is not subjective. It isn’t a simple matter of “I like it or I don’t like it.” The learnt mind will always think that the architecture that is good, is beautiful. How can one tell if the architecture is beautiful? If the built structure follows the basic tenets of good design, balance, symmetry (or asymmetry), order, sequence, use of texture, colors etc. then the architecture is beautiful. Not based on a thinking that is influenced by past experiences and ideologies learnt from the context of which one is brought up; the institutions. The institutions that influence our ideologies include, family, friends, school, religion etc. It isn’t until one frees themselves of these institution, that you can begin to understand the intricacy that is involved in interpreting architecture as a work of art, as beautiful. It is objective, at least, good architecture is.

architecture is SUBJECTIVE.

Although there are certain principles that are supposed to be inherent in good design, there is a consistent struggle to define what is good or right.  Cultures, values and morals have a great impact on how people live and think, as well as how they interpret architecture.  It is very possible, and common, for one individual to have an opinion about the quality of a piece of architecture that is vastly different from the opinion of another.




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Melissa, Will, and Natalie

What Is Architecture?

  • Architecture (‘s):
    • “…is a consequential response to the human experience.”
    • “…suffers with routine” –Le Corbusier
    • “…is the act of adapting ones environment to the changes presented by the evolving technological world.” 
    • “…is evolutionary and if we deny it that then we are only limiting our gains.”
    • “…evolution is intrinsically related to advances in technology.”
    • “…is increasingly being influenced by our way of life and the effect that technologies have on it.”
    • “…is presented with new issues and constraints due to these new technologies.”
    • “….and the architect have a responsibility to formulate the meeting of architecture and technology in his/her designs, choosing to respond to limitations and requirements with the introduction of new technologies that may seek to remedy these limitations.”

  • “…and the architect should always press forward to adapt new expertise to historical problems, never hesitating or reminiscing on what could have been or being constrained by past ideas.”



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